Shake Paws

— the home of dogs —

A new day, a new dog

by Jeff Porter

The day you welcome a dog into your life is like no other – like all the celebrations you can imagine rolled into one…

Back in 2002 when I went self-employed and started working from home, it became pretty clear that something was missing during the long, lonely days. That’s when my wife suggested getting a dog, something we had avoided while we both worked long hours away from home.

The next day I took myself off to Wood Green Animal Shelter. I wandered up and down the isles of kennels, sometimes two or three times. But there was one isle I hadn’t explored, so I headed over to have a look. It wasn’t till I reached the very last kennel in the very last isle that I knew I’d found the dog I’d been looking for.

Staring back at me were two dogs, a lurcher and a greyhound. Both charged to the front of the kennel and put their paws up on the bare wire. It was clear they both knew an interested party meant a walk at the minimum, a forever home at best.

A member of staff loaned me a lead and I took Jemima, the lurcher, for a walk. I was smitten. Wood Green’s policy is that dogs should meet the whole family, especially where children are concerned, so I reluctantly had to return Jem, as she would be renamed, to her kennel.

A few days later I returned with my wife and daughter. We were directed to the greeting room while a member of staff went to fetch Jem. No sooner was Jem through the door of the greeting room than she was up on the couch behind me, as if to say “I’m done here”. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life.

Jem was six at the time and we enjoyed seven wonderful years with her before she died from natural causes at home in her own bed.

sp-intv-lesley-ward-5We spent seven happy years with our first dog Jem

While we were all hit hard at the loss of Jem, it wasn’t long before we had a new dog in our life, Roma.

Early one evening, three weeks after Jem died, Roma walked through our front door with her foster carer. It was clear that Roma was an entirely different proposition. She had been beaten and starved to the point her pin bones protruded half an inch above her back. Roma had just turned one year old.

She sat on the floor beside her foster carer while he told us about her background. When he raised her lead from the floor, Roma hit the deck, belly down. It was a clear demonstration of how careful we would have to be with this little lady. Within a matter of minutes, though, Roma was on Jem’s old couch gobbling down treats by the handful. Roma had come to stay, and that is another day I will never forget for as long as I live.

Our rescue dog Roma enjoying a runRoma has recovered well from her mistreatment and is full of beans when we go walking

We’re sure you all have stories to tell about the times new dogs came into your lives, and we’d love to here them and see your pictures. Please head over to our Facebook page and tell all!